Leyds grabs his chance

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Wing Kobus van Wyk and utility player Jaco Taute are set to join the team next week for the last two matches of the league campaign, as well as the playoff matches which are likely to follow. Seabelo Senatla, who had his first run out of the campaign against the Rebels after coming back from Sevens duty, is also going to get a good look in.

However, Dillyn Leyds is one player who is not going to be easily dislodged, especially not after his brace of tries against the Rebels at Newlands over the past weekend.

The former Bishops star showed great anticipation when he intercepted a ball close to the Rebels’ tryline for his first five-pointer, while he finished off a move down the blindside by cutting in smartly for his second score.

It was his fifth try of the season, the most by any Stormers player this season.

He joked yesterday that he would have had a good laugh last year if someone had told him that he would be the Stormers’ leading try-scorer in 2015, especially because he didn’t expect to play in almost every match for Stormers this season.

It seems like he still doesn’t believe he’s worthy of a starting place, and joked that his brother, Tristan, who scored a spectacular 65-metre try for Bishops against Paarl Boys High recently, could even take his place next season.

But Leyds deserves to hold on to his starting place, because he has this uncanny knack of making a try out of nothing and being in the right place at the right time. Like he was in the Stormers’ first game against the Bulls and during his wonderful counter-attacking effort against the Blues. His intercept against the Rebels was also a crucial one, as it allowed the Stormers to go into halftime in the lead following a nervous first stanza.

But Leyds says the competition is healthy, and, if anything, it will bring the team together and make them stronger over the next few weeks.

“There are a few guys coming back. Kobus has been training and Jaco Taute is back playing in the Vodacom Cup. I just have to keep doing what I have been doing all season,” he said.

“The competition is strong but it brings out the best in all of us.”

It was rather interesting to see Senatla and Leyds play together on Saturday. The two regularly changed wings, almost like soccer teams would do. They complemented each other well, and played a big part in Damian de Allende’s try after a swift counter attack.

Leyds said the return of Senatla hasn’t put him under added pressure to perform, although it did take some of the spotlight off him going into the game last Saturday.

“It was great for the team to have Seabelo back. He was drafted in quickly from the Sevens just a few days ago,” Leyds, a former Force player said.

“I don’t think it has changed my mindset or put pressure on me to perform. I just went out there and played my natural game. I’m just lucky that the ball came to my side of the field and I was happy to finish it off.

“The biggest decision with him coming back was if he wanted to play on the left or the right side of the field.”

Backs coach Robbie Fleck praised Leyds for their contribution this season, but he too is aware that a lethal finisher like Van Wyk will have to feature somewhere during the course of the next few weeks.

This weekend against the Cheetahs, though, Senatla and Leyds will make the up the back three with fullback Cheslin Kolbe. “Dillyn has been one of the best performing backs this season. He is a very good rugby player, and I like the fact that he pops in at first receiver. He is all over the park and he is looking for work,” Fleck said yesterday.

“To his credit, he has done a great job for us this season. For a guy who was on the fringe coming into the campaign, he has taken the No 1 spot and he held on to it for some time now.

“With Kobus returning and Seabelo in the mix, it’s going to lift his game and the others’ game. But I’m really stoked with the way he has performed this year.” - Cape Times

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